|Arrived in Tel Aviv in the morning. We've been surprised that we walked right thru customs without any stopping or inspections. In addition, we haven't seen any militias walking around. Tel Aviv is very similar to many European towns; it has an outstanding beach, very modern hotels,and expensive shopping area. The weather is also great: 72 and bright sun.
We went directly from the airport to the city of Jaffa/Joppa (all these cities have several names due to the long history and many cultures here.) Jaffa is suburb just south of Tel Aviv, right on the Mediterranean. It has tight winding streets with many small local vendors and big flea market. It also has a great view of Tel Aviv from the shore.
Historically, this is the area Jonah took off from in the famous Bible story (see the side pic), the site where St. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead, and we visited the church of St.Peter, right along the shore. The church is at the site Peter wrote about his vision in the Acts when he saw unclean animals descending from heaven. Our priest said mass in the church for us.
We walked for a bit on the city streets, had some traditional local lunch, and experienced my first - and last - being ripped off from a storekeeper on the money exchange.
Pretty tired from the lack of sleep on the plane, but we enjoyed a refreshing walk along the beach after dinner.